Families who have immigrated to the UK will want to help their children to find a school as the first priority. To help a child enroll in school, we must know if the child can apply for admission together with other local children, or whether to make an in-year application.
First of all, let us talk about the age of entry to British schools.
Elementary schools in the UK start school in early September after the age of 4. This grade is called Reception Class (or Primary 1 in Scotland). Children start in Reception Class, and will be promoted to Year 1 (Primary 2 in Scotland) after one year, and continue to Year 6 (Primary 7 in Scotland).
After Year 6, it will be the first year of Secondary school, Year 7.
(Some primary schools in the UK are divided into Infant (reception Class – Year 2) & Junior (Year 3 – Year 6), mainly because some areas are scattered, so some small Infant schools have been opened for younger students to go to school, and then to Year Upgrade to Junior School at 3 o’clock)
If your child will be 4 years old before September next year (before August 31), then you should apply for school by mid-January next year. For the exact registration date, please refer to the Council of each district. If you don’t know which Council you belong to, you can refer to the following government web page, and you can find out which Council you belong to by using the postal code of your address. On the Council website, look for the “Apply for School” section.
Each Council’s admission application form will have some differences but the registration and allocation time are roughly the same.
Process of Applying for Reception Class
If your child should start school in the 2021-2022 Reception Class, (which means your child will be 4 from 1st Sept 2020 to 31st Aug 2021) the admission timeline will be as below (please refer to the date announced by your own council)
- January 15, 2021, Submit application form (each child can choose 4 schools)
- Mid-April 2021 Receive an offer from Council
- September 2021 Child to start their school life in Primary School
If the child should be enrolled in the Reception Class in September 2021 but did not submit the form before January 15, the Council will allocate the place according to the date of submission of the form, please check the Late Apply on the Council website Assignment date. Therefore, please arrange to apply for elementary school as soon as possible.
When children reach Year 6, they need to apply for secondary school. The process is similar but the timeline will be earlier:
If your child will enter year 7 in 2021-2022, the application timeline is as below (please refer to the date of your council)
- October 31, 2020, Submit application form (each child can choose 4 schools)
- mid-March 2021, Receive notification of allocation results from Council
- Early July 2021, the transition day in New School (Introduction for New Student)
- September 2021, Child starts Secondary School
- In Scotland, there are 6 years of Secondary school with 4 years University
In the next article, we’ll show you how to apply for transfers for children, so stay tuned!